Ubuntu 17.04 Beta 1 Released | New Features And Download

Short Bytes: Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus Beta 1 release is finally here. If you’re interested, you can go ahead and download the ISO images of the participating flavors, which are, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Studio. Powered by Linux kernel 4.10, these releases feature the latest stable versions of their respective desktop environments. This release will be followed by the Final Beta release on March 23 and final release on April 13.

Ubuntu 17.04 is scheduled to release in April. Before that, official Ubuntu derivatives (or flavors) have participated in the first beta release. As a result, Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus Beta 1 has landed and it’s available for testing.

On a side note, last year in December, I wrote about the next Ubuntu release, i.e., Ubuntu 17.04, its release schedule, expected features, etc. In case you missed that, you can read it here. Also, in the upcoming days, I’ll be updating that article with more updates and new features.

Coming back to the current Ubuntu 17.01 Beta 1 release, the favors participating in the release are Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Studio. Ubuntu Unity and Ubuntu MATE hasn’t participated in this release. It should be noted that it’s the first beta release of Ubuntu Budgie since it became an official Ubuntu flavor.

Read ahead to find the download links and brief information regarding the Beta 1 releases of these flavors. The Beta 1 is based on Linux kernel 4.10.

Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 Beta 1 features and download:

  • Based on GNOME 3.24 Beta
  • Updated GNOME Software, Calendar, other apps
  • New Night Light feature
  • Flatpack 0.8
  • Files app Nautilus at version 3.20
  • Instant messaging app Empathy removed
  • New Characters map utility installed by default
  • Updated set of packages

Download Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 Beta 1

Ubuntu Budgie 17.04 Beta 1 features and download:

  • Latest budgie-desktop stable release v10.2.9.
  • TK+3.24 applications (in beta) with GTK+3.24 window manager
  • Budgie-welcome app with browser ballot screen
  • AppIndicator support is now default
  • Terminix is the default terminal
  • This snapshot is based on Linux v4.9 kernel.

Download Ubuntu Budgie 17.04 Beta 1

Kubuntu 17.04 Beta 1 features and download:

  • KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environment
  • KDE Applications 16.12.1
  • Multiple improvements in KDE applications

Download Kubuntu 17.04 Beta 1

Find the release notes and download links of other flavors here:

As these releases are development versions, I won’t advise you to install them on your primary computer. Feel free to download them and perform testing on secondary machines or VMs.

Did you find this article helpful? Which Ubuntu flavor do you prefer? Don’t forget to share your views with us.

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Bitcoin hits record high above $1200 on talk of ETF approval

Digital currency bitcoin jumped to a record high above $1,200 on Friday, as investors speculated the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to be issued in the United States is set to receive regulatory approval.

Traditional financial players have largely shunned the web-based “crytpocurrency,” viewing it as too volatile, complicated and risky, and doubting its inherent value.

But bitcoin, invented in 2008, performed better than any other currency in every year since 2010 apart from 2014, when it was the worst-performing currency, and has added almost a quarter to its value so far this year.

It soared to as high as $1,200 per bitcoin in early Asian trading on Europe’s Bitstamp exchange, before easing to about $1,190.

That put the total value of all bitcoins in circulation — or the digital currency’s “market cap”, as it is known — at close to $20 billion, around the same size as Iceland’s economy.

Some analysts say regulatory approval of a bitcoin ETF would make the currency relatively attractive to the often more cautious institutional investor market.

But despite potentially high returns, low correlations with other currencies and assets, falling volatility and increasing liquidity, there is scant evidence so far that most major players are considering investing in the digital currency.

“Bitcoin is just not liquid enough for us to even think about,” said Paul Lambert, fund manager and head of currency investment at Insight, in London.

“We manage billions and billions of dollars we’d need to be able to go into that market and trade in hundreds of millions of dollars at a time, and my sense is it’s not like that.”

Three ETFs that track the value of bitcoin have been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for approval.

The Securities and Exchange Commission will decide by March 11 whether to approve one filed almost four years ago by investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. If approved, it would be the first bitcoin ETF issued and regulated by a U.S. entity.

gTLDs: The luck of the .IRISH

Hogan Lovells

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) launched the application process for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) in January 2012.  The new gTLD program resulted in an unprecedented expansion of the Domain Name System (DNS) from the existing 22 TLDs, such as .COM and .ORG, to currently over 1,200 gTLDs.

While a handful of new gTLDs appear to be showing reasonable growth of domain name registrations, the volume of domain name registrations across the new gTLD name space overall is less than impressive. As a result of this, some new gTLD Registry operators are seeking to implement an exit strategy in order to cut their losses and to sell their gTLD Registry. This has resulted in an emerging aftermarket for the purchase of new gTLD Registries, which saw the sale of .REISE which means “travel” in German and .HIV in 2015.

Initially the aftermarket was mostly conducted via auctions with the gTLD Registry being purchased by the highest bidder.  However, this method seems to have been eschewed in favour of direct negotiations between interested parties. For example, 2016 saw the sale and purchase of .OBSERVER, .SHOPPING, .JETZT which means “now” in German, .BOSTON and the portfolio sale of .ARCHI, .BIO and .SKI. As such the sale and purchase of new gTLD Registries is becoming more common place and the consolidation of ownership of new gTLD Registries is well underway.

This trend has continued in 2017 with the acquisition of the .IRISH gTLD by Donuts, the company which oversees a portfolio of circa 200 gTLDs.

The .IRISH gTLD was applied for by a company called Dot-Irish LLC, based in California.  In its ICANN new gTLD application, .IRISH was described as “a new top-level domain for the global Irish Diaspora“. The application noted that:

“While approximately 6 million people reside on the island of Ireland, nearly 80 million people worldwide identify themselves with Irish heritage. Annual trade exports on the Island of Ireland now exceed €100 Billion and imports exceed €50 Billion. Therefore, a social and business marketplace exists for the .Irish top-level domain.”

The application materials also stated that as a result of various consultations and discussions the Registry operator was confident that there was a “demand for the domain, and the concept is well received“.

On paper, it seemed that .IRISH had the potential to be a new gTLD success story, especially when taken in the context of the restrictions governing domain name registrations under .IE, the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) for Ireland. In order to register a domain name under .IE, an applicant must demonstrate a connection with Ireland such as being a registered Irish business, an Irish citizen or resident in Ireland, or having a trade mark registration affording protection in Ireland. The .IRISH gTLD appeared to provide an easy way for individuals and businesses to show their Irish credentials without having to meet the .IE registration criteria.

Dot-Irish LLC’s application for .IRISH passed through ICANN’s new gTLD evaluation processes without any issues and the Registry Agreement was executed on 7 August 2014. The .IRISH gTLD was then delegated to the root on 25 November 2014. The Registry ran a 60-day Sunrise period for trade mark holders and started accepting domain name applications from the general public on 25 June 2015.  In addition to this, the .IRISH Registry has over 50 ICANN accredited registrars signed up to sell domain names, including three of the top five largest registrars.

However, despite all of this, the .IRISH gTLD never managed to get over 2,500 domain name registrations and at the time of writing has 2,124 domain name registrations under management.  Quite why the .IRISH gTLD failed to take off is not clear. One theory is that the plethora of new gTLD extensions that have come to market over the last few years has exhausted potential registrants’ enthusiasm for domain name registrations. An alternative theory is that the gTLDs that are experiencing real growth are those which attract domainers and .IRISH is simply not attractive to domainers.

In any case the acquisition of .IRISH indicates that Donuts sees enough of a future for the .IRISH gTLD to step in and purchase it.

There are currently roughly 27,000,000 domain names registered across all the new gTLDs.  Of these, circa 17,500,000 are registered across just 10 gTLD Registries. That means that there are a lot of smaller gTLD Registries in operation that may well be struggling to meet their operating costs. As a result it is likely that we will see further Registry acquisitions and consolidation throughout 2017.


First published on Anchovy News: Anchovy® is our a comprehensive and centralised online brand protection service for global domain name strategy, including new gTLDs together with portfolio management and global enforcement using a unique and exclusive online platform developed in-house.

Ubuntu Touch finds a home on a conflict-free, fair-trade, user-maintainable handset

Handset maker Fairphone is teaming up with the community project UBports, which seeks to get Ubuntu Touch on mobile devices. They will be showing off Ubuntu Touch running on the Fairphone 2 during Mobile World Congress, which starts February 27 in Barcelona. While Ubuntu is probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think of mobile devices, the phone in question offers some compelling features.

“UBports Foundation will be showcasing its work at the Canonical booth, the company behind Ubuntu. Canonical is planning to tell about the latest developments around the convergence of its devices and UBports Foundation will share its mission ‘Ubuntu On Every Device’ with the visitors,” UBports said in a February 8 press release.

Currently, UBports’ website lists three devices as “fully working as daily drivers:” The OnePlus One, Nexus 5, and the Fairphone 2, with the latter showing all parts as functioning with Ubuntu Touch, save the GPS radio. (Interestingly, the UBports project website for the Fairphone 2 still lists the GSM radio [in addition to the GPS] as a work in progress. However there is a video of two people talking with the handset, so it’s likely the Fairphone 2 project website is out of date.) The website also has instructions for flashing Ubuntu to the Fairphone 2.

There are 10 other phones on UBports’ website listed as “in progress,” including the Nexus 5X, 6, 7 (2013), 9, and 10.

The Fairphone 2 boasts more than just the ability to run Ubuntu in the palm of your hand. The company says the phone will be modular in design, allowing users to replace worn-out parts, which extends the device’s lifespan and reduces e-waste. I still mourn the loss of removable batteries and storage, which used to be the norm in Android handsets. By making the phone’s guts replaceable by the user, Fairphone is taking DIY maintenance a step further.

The company also focuses on reducing the amount of negative environmental and social imapcts through recycled and conflict-free supply chains. (Fairphone notes that some 40 elements go into the making of a smartphone, but the company is primarily focused on tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold, cobalt, copper, gallium, indium, nickel, and rare earth metals.)

Challenges ahead

While making Ubuntu a reliable OS for various mobile devices is tough enough, the bigger battle will undoubtedly be adoption. The desktop Linux market share is still quite low compared to Windows and MacOS. And Mozilla’s decision to abandon its Firefox OS last year is a testament to the challenges of building an alternative mobile OS in the shadow of iOS and Android.

The stated goal of the UBports community is “to have the open-source software Ubuntu on every device, starting with smartphones.” That’s going to require a lot of work, especially since porting Android ROMs to the wide array of mobile hardware available is itself tricky.

Bitcoin is surging – but that might not mean what you think

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What bitcoin’s surge is telling us about stocks


Bitcoin – the volatile digital currency that is used for a bevy of transaction, investment and value-storing purposes – is hovering around all-time highs, and its value has surged 175 percent in the past year.

But even though bitcoin is rising alongside gold, and it is often seen as an alternative “safe haven asset,” this rally may actually be confirming the rally in stocks, rather than presenting a warning sign.

The currency has become more mainstream as additional companies accept bitcoin as a form of payment, Miller Tabak equity strategist Matt Maley said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” According to this thinking, demand for bitcoin will rise as economic activity increases.

Bitcoin was created in 2009 in the midst of the financial crisis as a brand-new currency and payment network, and remains somewhat in the Wild West of currencies, without universal regulation, no central authority and tracked by ledger-like blockchain technology maintained by different firms.

Companies from Microsoft to Subway to popular blog platform WordPress now accept bitcoin as a form of payment.

More recently, Switzerland’s financial regulatory authority granted a bitcoin firm approval to operate, Reuters reported, and in late 2016 JPMorgan was reported to have been working on its own type of blockchain technology to support bitcoin. Perhaps boosting bitcoin activity, too, is the prospect of bitcoin exchange-traded fund creation and bitcoin storage providers.

In the past, bitcoin rallies have frequently been seen as signs that investors are turning away from conventional assets, and hunting for places to stash their money. But as bitcoin has developed more “mainstream” business uses, Maley argued, it has become more correlated with equities.

A look at bitcoin’s performance relative to the SP 500‘s over the last five years does not show any particularly close mathematical relationship between the two.

Nobel laureate and economist Joseph Stiglitz said in January at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, that the United States moving toward digital currency would have meaningful benefits like curbing corruption and increasing transparency in global financial markets, two themes from this most recent meeting.

“There are important issues of privacy, cybersecurity, but it would certainly have big advantages,” he said.

Bitcoin is not fiat currency, with no backing from a government that issues it, and the space is volatile given its lack of regulation. This month alone, bitcoin has risen 25 percent after dipping nearly 5 percent in January. It has climbed nearly 22,000 percent in five years while the dollar is up 28 percent in the same time period.

“The big fear around bitcoin is just one day when the governments come out and say, ‘We’re no longer going to allow this,’ and we’re going to shut it down. But in a world of Armageddon, where the world ends, currencies will go by the way of the countries; bitcoin, like gold, will still have value because of the blockchain-ing that goes on behind it,” Dennis Davitt, portfolio manager at Harvest Volatility Management, said Wednesday on “Trading Nation.”

The digital currency has a ways to go before becoming a full-on “mainstream” currency, but it’s very much a real system of payment, Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at Convergex, told CNBC on Wednesday. Given bitcoin’s volatility, every time investors buy the currency at new highs, “you kind of want to hold your nose,” Colas said, given its volatile nature and all the hills and valleys that come along with it.

Mt. Gox, a Tokyo-based digital currency exchange, went bankrupt in 2014 after substantial losses in the bitcoin space, sending the value of bitcoin tanking.

— CNBC’s Alex Rosenberg contributed reporting.

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gTLDs: The luck of the .IRISH

Hogan Lovells

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) launched the application process for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) in January 2012.  The new gTLD program resulted in an unprecedented expansion of the Domain Name System (DNS) from the existing 22 TLDs, such as .COM and .ORG, to currently over 1,200 gTLDs.

While a handful of new gTLDs appear to be showing reasonable growth of domain name registrations, the volume of domain name registrations across the new gTLD name space overall is less than impressive. As a result of this, some new gTLD Registry operators are seeking to implement an exit strategy in order to cut their losses and to sell their gTLD Registry. This has resulted in an emerging aftermarket for the purchase of new gTLD Registries, which saw the sale of .REISE which means “travel” in German and .HIV in 2015.

Initially the aftermarket was mostly conducted via auctions with the gTLD Registry being purchased by the highest bidder.  However, this method seems to have been eschewed in favour of direct negotiations between interested parties. For example, 2016 saw the sale and purchase of .OBSERVER, .SHOPPING, .JETZT which means “now” in German, .BOSTON and the portfolio sale of .ARCHI, .BIO and .SKI. As such the sale and purchase of new gTLD Registries is becoming more common place and the consolidation of ownership of new gTLD Registries is well underway.

This trend has continued in 2017 with the acquisition of the .IRISH gTLD by Donuts, the company which oversees a portfolio of circa 200 gTLDs.

The .IRISH gTLD was applied for by a company called Dot-Irish LLC, based in California.  In its ICANN new gTLD application, .IRISH was described as “a new top-level domain for the global Irish Diaspora“. The application noted that:

“While approximately 6 million people reside on the island of Ireland, nearly 80 million people worldwide identify themselves with Irish heritage. Annual trade exports on the Island of Ireland now exceed €100 Billion and imports exceed €50 Billion. Therefore, a social and business marketplace exists for the .Irish top-level domain.”

The application materials also stated that as a result of various consultations and discussions the Registry operator was confident that there was a “demand for the domain, and the concept is well received“.

On paper, it seemed that .IRISH had the potential to be a new gTLD success story, especially when taken in the context of the restrictions governing domain name registrations under .IE, the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) for Ireland. In order to register a domain name under .IE, an applicant must demonstrate a connection with Ireland such as being a registered Irish business, an Irish citizen or resident in Ireland, or having a trade mark registration affording protection in Ireland. The .IRISH gTLD appeared to provide an easy way for individuals and businesses to show their Irish credentials without having to meet the .IE registration criteria.

Dot-Irish LLC’s application for .IRISH passed through ICANN’s new gTLD evaluation processes without any issues and the Registry Agreement was executed on 7 August 2014. The .IRISH gTLD was then delegated to the root on 25 November 2014. The Registry ran a 60-day Sunrise period for trade mark holders and started accepting domain name applications from the general public on 25 June 2015.  In addition to this, the .IRISH Registry has over 50 ICANN accredited registrars signed up to sell domain names, including three of the top five largest registrars.

However, despite all of this, the .IRISH gTLD never managed to get over 2,500 domain name registrations and at the time of writing has 2,124 domain name registrations under management.  Quite why the .IRISH gTLD failed to take off is not clear. One theory is that the plethora of new gTLD extensions that have come to market over the last few years has exhausted potential registrants’ enthusiasm for domain name registrations. An alternative theory is that the gTLDs that are experiencing real growth are those which attract domainers and .IRISH is simply not attractive to domainers.

In any case the acquisition of .IRISH indicates that Donuts sees enough of a future for the .IRISH gTLD to step in and purchase it.

There are currently roughly 27,000,000 domain names registered across all the new gTLDs.  Of these, circa 17,500,000 are registered across just 10 gTLD Registries. That means that there are a lot of smaller gTLD Registries in operation that may well be struggling to meet their operating costs. As a result it is likely that we will see further Registry acquisitions and consolidation throughout 2017.


First published on Anchovy News: Anchovy® is our a comprehensive and centralised online brand protection service for global domain name strategy, including new gTLDs together with portfolio management and global enforcement using a unique and exclusive online platform developed in-house.

Ubuntu Touch finds a home on a conflict-free, fair-trade, user-maintainable handset

Handset maker Fairphone is teaming up with the community project UBports, which seeks to get Ubuntu Touch on mobile devices. They will be showing off Ubuntu Touch running on the Fairphone 2 during Mobile World Congress, which starts February 27 in Barcelona. While Ubuntu is probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think of mobile devices, the phone in question offers some compelling features.

“UBports Foundation will be showcasing its work at the Canonical booth, the company behind Ubuntu. Canonical is planning to tell about the latest developments around the convergence of its devices and UBports Foundation will share its mission ‘Ubuntu On Every Device’ with the visitors,” UBports said in a February 8 press release.

Currently, UBports’ website lists three devices as “fully working as daily drivers:” The OnePlus One, Nexus 5, and the Fairphone 2, with the latter showing all parts as functioning with Ubuntu Touch, save the GPS radio. (Interestingly, the UBports project website for the Fairphone 2 still lists the GSM radio [in addition to the GPS] as a work in progress. However there is a video of two people talking with the handset, so it’s likely the Fairphone 2 project website is out of date.) The website also has instructions for flashing Ubuntu to the Fairphone 2.

There are 10 other phones on UBports’ website listed as “in progress,” including the Nexus 5X, 6, 7 (2013), 9, and 10.

The Fairphone 2 boasts more than just the ability to run Ubuntu in the palm of your hand. The company says the phone will be modular in design, allowing users to replace worn-out parts, which extends the device’s lifespan and reduces e-waste. I still mourn the loss of removable batteries and storage, which used to be the norm in Android handsets. By making the phone’s guts replaceable by the user, Fairphone is taking DIY maintenance a step further.

The company also focuses on reducing the amount of negative environmental and social imapcts through recycled and conflict-free supply chains. (Fairphone notes that some 40 elements go into the making of a smartphone, but the company is primarily focused on tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold, cobalt, copper, gallium, indium, nickel, and rare earth metals.)

Challenges ahead

While making Ubuntu a reliable OS for various mobile devices is tough enough, the bigger battle will undoubtedly be adoption. The desktop Linux market share is still quite low compared to Windows and MacOS. And Mozilla’s decision to abandon its Firefox OS last year is a testament to the challenges of building an alternative mobile OS in the shadow of iOS and Android.

The stated goal of the UBports community is “to have the open-source software Ubuntu on every device, starting with smartphones.” That’s going to require a lot of work, especially since porting Android ROMs to the wide array of mobile hardware available is itself tricky.

Make yourself heard: INTA extends deadline for new gTLD cost impact survey

Jack Ellis

The original deadline for INTA’s survey on the impact of new gTLDs on brand owners has been extended, with INTA corporate members now having until Friday February 28 to submit their responses. The study is designed to provide empirical data on the real-world cost of the new gTLD programme on trademark protection and policing activities.

The impact study was launched last month with the intention of gathering insight from the trademark-owning community on the effects of the new gTLD rollout, which began in late 2013. ICANN had invited INTA to provide this feedback as part of its commitment to regularly review the impact of new gTLDs in terms of competition, consumer protection, security and IP rights. According to INTA, ICANN specifically wants to assess “the cost and effort required to protect and police trademarks,” adding: “To date no empirical data has been developed on the costs that brand owners have had to incur.”

This led to the launch of the cost impact study. In a recent interview with World Trademark Review (available in full as a podcast), Joseph Ferretti, 2017 INTA president, expanded: “The budget aspect is important to understand because something has to be sacrificed – budgets haven’t increased to accommodate the expansion in domain names, that’s for sure… [To date] There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence of the impact but not firm evidence that we can point to. That is why INTA is initiating the impact study – because we really want a data driven approach. So we are asking our members to give us information on the actual cost of the new gTLD programme, so we can talk about the issue with much more specificity.”

To ensure the confidentiality of responses, the survey is being carried out by a third-party service provider (Nielsen). Neither INTA nor ICANN will have access to individual responses; instead, Nielsen will collate the findings into a report at the end of the process.

Many trademark-owning INTA members will have already received email invitations to participate in the survey; for those of you that haven’t, you can contact research@hpolsurveys.com, which will send you an individualised link in order to complete it. INTA provides the following guidance on the survey process:

While completing the survey will only require approximately 30 minutes, the survey will require some preparatory work on the part of the corporate members with regard to the costs of trademark enforcement relative to domain registrations. Survey respondents will be provided with a worksheet to assist them with this process. Information to be collected in preparation for responding to the survey includes:

  • Number of domains registered under the ‘legacy’ (ie, ‘.com’, ‘.net’, etc) and ‘new’ (ie, ‘.bank’, ‘.sucks’, etc) gTLDs in the past 24 months;
  • Reasoning behind registering such domains and possible alternatives;
  • Number of trademark claims notices received and estimated cost associated with these claims notices (both in-house and outside counsel);
  • Estimated cost spent on general internet monitoring of trademarks to identify potentially abusive or infringing domain names;
  • Estimated cost spent on any of the following: cease and desist letters; UDRP proceedings; civil actions after adverse UDRP rulings; URS proceedings; ACPA lawsuits; and other trademark lawsuits resulting from a new gTLD;
  • Estimated cost spent on pursuing action against registrars and registries; and
  • Company policy with regards to premium pricing for domain names.

With the dearth of information on the cost of new gTLD mitigation, the study’s findings will be keenly anticipated. World Trademark Review’s most recent annual benchmarking survey, conducted during the first half of 2016, found that brand owners were on the whole relatively sanguine with regards to the programme. A clear majority (60.5%) of respondents reported no significant changes to their online enforcement strategies over the preceding 12 months; while domain name infringement slipped down on their list of priorities as compared to previous years, with combatting online sales of counterfeits now top of their internet-related enforcement agenda. This may be because strategies had already been adjusted to fit the reality of the new gTLD environment (the survey asking respondents to consider only the previous 12 months). It will be interesting, though, to see how the results of INTA’s impact survey tally with these findings.

What is important is that the study is as representative of the reality as possible, and that requires trademark counsel to engage with the research. Those wishing to do so now have less than two weeks to participate. 

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How to prevent Ubuntu from overwriting /etc/resolv.conf

linuxnethero.jpg

If you’re like me, you prefer to use third-party DNS servers on your machines (such as Google or OpenDNS). To do that, you set up your network connections, via the network manager app, to use a static IP address (complete with gateway, netmask, and two DNS servers). Once you set that up, you check the /etc/resolv.conf file, only to find that it has contains only one entry:

nameserver 127.0.0.1

Although it works, you might find that DNS isn’t resolving as quickly as you’d like or that you don’t have the added controls that come with, say, an OpenDNS account.

So how do you prevent Ubuntu from overwriting that resolv.conf entry? Let me show you.

Go static

The first thing you must do is set up your network connection as static. This can be done in the Edit Connections gui. Click on the network icon in the system tray and then click Edit connections. In the Network Connections window, select the connection to be edited and then click the Edit button. In the resulting window, click on either IPv4 or IPv6 (whichever your network uses), select Manual, and fill out the necessary information (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

Setting a static IP address in Ubuntu.

Once you’ve filled out the necessary information, click Save. You’ve now configured your static IP address. There is one final step you must take.

dnsmasq

The dnsmasq system provides network infrastructure for small networks (such as DNS, DHCP, router advertisement and network boot). This is the tool that is responsible for overwriting your resolv.conf file. In order to prevent this from happening, you need to open a terminal window and issue the command sudo nano /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf. In that file, look for the line:

dns=dnsmasq

Comment out that line so it now reads:

#dns=dnsmasq

Save and close the file.

Finally, you must restart the NetworkManager with the command:

sudo /etc/init.d/network-manager restart

If you check your /etc/resolv.conf file, you should see that it now retains the static DNS servers you set in the network connection editor (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

Your configured DNS servers now remain.

You can restart networking or reboot your machine and the static DNS addresses will finally stick.

Going forward

As someone who almost always sets static DNS addresses on Linux machines, I feel it’s time the connection editor receives a clickable option to enable/disable dnsmasq. Instead of tucking away the option in a configuration file (one that is less-than-obvious), why not make this simple? When a user opts to set a static DNS address in the GUI, it should be assumed that static address will be honored, not overwritten.

See also

Make yourself heard: INTA extends deadline for new gTLD cost impact survey

Jack Ellis

The original deadline for INTA’s survey on the impact of new gTLDs on brand owners has been extended, with INTA corporate members now having until Friday February 28 to submit their responses. The study is designed to provide empirical data on the real-world cost of the new gTLD programme on trademark protection and policing activities.

The impact study was launched last month with the intention of gathering insight from the trademark-owning community on the effects of the new gTLD rollout, which began in late 2013. ICANN had invited INTA to provide this feedback as part of its commitment to regularly review the impact of new gTLDs in terms of competition, consumer protection, security and IP rights. According to INTA, ICANN specifically wants to assess “the cost and effort required to protect and police trademarks,” adding: “To date no empirical data has been developed on the costs that brand owners have had to incur.”

This led to the launch of the cost impact study. In a recent interview with World Trademark Review (available in full as a podcast), Joseph Ferretti, 2017 INTA president, expanded: “The budget aspect is important to understand because something has to be sacrificed – budgets haven’t increased to accommodate the expansion in domain names, that’s for sure… [To date] There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence of the impact but not firm evidence that we can point to. That is why INTA is initiating the impact study – because we really want a data driven approach. So we are asking our members to give us information on the actual cost of the new gTLD programme, so we can talk about the issue with much more specificity.”

To ensure the confidentiality of responses, the survey is being carried out by a third-party service provider (Nielsen). Neither INTA nor ICANN will have access to individual responses; instead, Nielsen will collate the findings into a report at the end of the process.

Many trademark-owning INTA members will have already received email invitations to participate in the survey; for those of you that haven’t, you can contact research@hpolsurveys.com, which will send you an individualised link in order to complete it. INTA provides the following guidance on the survey process:

While completing the survey will only require approximately 30 minutes, the survey will require some preparatory work on the part of the corporate members with regard to the costs of trademark enforcement relative to domain registrations. Survey respondents will be provided with a worksheet to assist them with this process. Information to be collected in preparation for responding to the survey includes:

  • Number of domains registered under the ‘legacy’ (ie, ‘.com’, ‘.net’, etc) and ‘new’ (ie, ‘.bank’, ‘.sucks’, etc) gTLDs in the past 24 months;
  • Reasoning behind registering such domains and possible alternatives;
  • Number of trademark claims notices received and estimated cost associated with these claims notices (both in-house and outside counsel);
  • Estimated cost spent on general internet monitoring of trademarks to identify potentially abusive or infringing domain names;
  • Estimated cost spent on any of the following: cease and desist letters; UDRP proceedings; civil actions after adverse UDRP rulings; URS proceedings; ACPA lawsuits; and other trademark lawsuits resulting from a new gTLD;
  • Estimated cost spent on pursuing action against registrars and registries; and
  • Company policy with regards to premium pricing for domain names.

With the dearth of information on the cost of new gTLD mitigation, the study’s findings will be keenly anticipated. World Trademark Review’s most recent annual benchmarking survey, conducted during the first half of 2016, found that brand owners were on the whole relatively sanguine with regards to the programme. A clear majority (60.5%) of respondents reported no significant changes to their online enforcement strategies over the preceding 12 months; while domain name infringement slipped down on their list of priorities as compared to previous years, with combatting online sales of counterfeits now top of their internet-related enforcement agenda. This may be because strategies had already been adjusted to fit the reality of the new gTLD environment (the survey asking respondents to consider only the previous 12 months). It will be interesting, though, to see how the results of INTA’s impact survey tally with these findings.

What is important is that the study is as representative of the reality as possible, and that requires trademark counsel to engage with the research. Those wishing to do so now have less than two weeks to participate. 

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How to Install Linux Kernel 4.10 on Ubuntu 16.10 and Ubuntu 16.04 …

Now that Linux kernel 4.10 is out, and because some of you have asked for a tutorial on how to install it on your Ubuntu Linux operating system, we thought it would be a good idea to show you guys the easiest and safest method.

First of all, the big question: why should you upgrade to Linux kernel 4.10? Well, you shouldn’t upgrade if everything runs smoothly on your Ubuntu PC and all your hardware works out-of-the-box, but you should upgrade if you currently have issues with some of your hardware components.

There’s another problem involved in the upgrade of the kernel packages, such as that some things might not yet support the Linux 4.10 kernel, such as that VirtualBox will no longer work, nor the proprietary AMDGPU-PRO graphics drivers because they don’t yet support Linux kernel 4.10.

So if the above are an issue for you, then you should stop reading and enjoy what you already have until Linux kernel 4.10 becomes supported by all drivers and apps that needed it. On the other hand, if you rely on the open-source graphics drivers, Linux kernel 4.10 brings many improvements for Intel and AMD Radeon GPUs.

We’ve upgraded one of our Ubuntu machines running Yakkety Yak (Ubuntu 16.10), which used the Linux 4.8 kernel by default, to Linux kernel 4.10 and the bleeding-edge Mesa 17.1-git graphics stack from the Padoka PPA, and the result is that many games run smoothly now with an AMD Radeon HD 8xxx graphics card.

Here’s how to install Linux kernel 4.10 on Ubuntu

The following instructions are only for those running the Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating systems. If you’re using Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and you already managed to update it to the latest point release, namely Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS, you should have the same Linux 4.8 kernel as those who run Ubuntu 16.10.

Without any further ado, go ahead and download either the generic or low-latency kernel (including the headers) for your architecture (e.g. linux-image-4.10.0-041000-generic_4.10.0-041000.201702191831_amd64.deb if you’re running Ubuntu on a 64-bit PC) from http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.10/.

These are the official kernel packages of Ubuntu, created by Canonical’s engineers, so they’ve been tested on the current daily builds of Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus). Save the files in your Home directory or create a new folder and put them there. Open the Terminal app in that location and run the following command.

sudo dpkg -i *.deb

Wait for the kernel packages to be installed, which could take a few minutes, and then reboot your computer. If you see any error, you should run the “sudo apt install -f” command, which should resolve any dependency issues. That’s it! You’re now using the Linux 4.10 kernel on your Ubuntu PC.

Make yourself heard: INTA extends deadline for new gTLD cost impact survey

Jack Ellis

The original deadline for INTA’s survey on the impact of new gTLDs on brand owners has been extended, with INTA corporate members now having until Friday February 28 to submit their responses. The study is designed to provide empirical data on the real-world cost of the new gTLD programme on trademark protection and policing activities.

The impact study was launched last month with the intention of gathering insight from the trademark-owning community on the effects of the new gTLD rollout, which began in late 2013. ICANN had invited INTA to provide this feedback as part of its commitment to regularly review the impact of new gTLDs in terms of competition, consumer protection, security and IP rights. According to INTA, ICANN specifically wants to assess “the cost and effort required to protect and police trademarks,” adding: “To date no empirical data has been developed on the costs that brand owners have had to incur.”

This led to the launch of the cost impact study. In a recent interview with World Trademark Review (available in full as a podcast), Joseph Ferretti, 2017 INTA president, expanded: “The budget aspect is important to understand because something has to be sacrificed – budgets haven’t increased to accommodate the expansion in domain names, that’s for sure… [To date] There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence of the impact but not firm evidence that we can point to. That is why INTA is initiating the impact study – because we really want a data driven approach. So we are asking our members to give us information on the actual cost of the new gTLD programme, so we can talk about the issue with much more specificity.”

To ensure the confidentiality of responses, the survey is being carried out by a third-party service provider (Nielsen). Neither INTA nor ICANN will have access to individual responses; instead, Nielsen will collate the findings into a report at the end of the process.

Many trademark-owning INTA members will have already received email invitations to participate in the survey; for those of you that haven’t, you can contact research@hpolsurveys.com, which will send you an individualised link in order to complete it. INTA provides the following guidance on the survey process:

While completing the survey will only require approximately 30 minutes, the survey will require some preparatory work on the part of the corporate members with regard to the costs of trademark enforcement relative to domain registrations. Survey respondents will be provided with a worksheet to assist them with this process. Information to be collected in preparation for responding to the survey includes:

  • Number of domains registered under the ‘legacy’ (ie, ‘.com’, ‘.net’, etc) and ‘new’ (ie, ‘.bank’, ‘.sucks’, etc) gTLDs in the past 24 months;
  • Reasoning behind registering such domains and possible alternatives;
  • Number of trademark claims notices received and estimated cost associated with these claims notices (both in-house and outside counsel);
  • Estimated cost spent on general internet monitoring of trademarks to identify potentially abusive or infringing domain names;
  • Estimated cost spent on any of the following: cease and desist letters; UDRP proceedings; civil actions after adverse UDRP rulings; URS proceedings; ACPA lawsuits; and other trademark lawsuits resulting from a new gTLD;
  • Estimated cost spent on pursuing action against registrars and registries; and
  • Company policy with regards to premium pricing for domain names.

With the dearth of information on the cost of new gTLD mitigation, the study’s findings will be keenly anticipated. World Trademark Review’s most recent annual benchmarking survey, conducted during the first half of 2016, found that brand owners were on the whole relatively sanguine with regards to the programme. A clear majority (60.5%) of respondents reported no significant changes to their online enforcement strategies over the preceding 12 months; while domain name infringement slipped down on their list of priorities as compared to previous years, with combatting online sales of counterfeits now top of their internet-related enforcement agenda. This may be because strategies had already been adjusted to fit the reality of the new gTLD environment (the survey asking respondents to consider only the previous 12 months). It will be interesting, though, to see how the results of INTA’s impact survey tally with these findings.

What is important is that the study is as representative of the reality as possible, and that requires trademark counsel to engage with the research. Those wishing to do so now have less than two weeks to participate. 

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Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS Point Release Arrives With Linux Kernel 4.8 And Improved Hardware Support

Short Bytes: The second Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS point release has arrived after getting delayed for two times. It brings Linux Kernel 4.8 and an updated HWE kernel for enhanced hardware support to the Ubuntu operating system. The update also includes various fixes for high-impact bugs and various stability improvements. The ISO files for Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS and its various flavors is available for download.

After delaying for a couple of weeks, Canonical has finally launched the second point release of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS aka Xenial Xerus. It has been six months since the last point release Ubuntu 16.04.1 came out of the Canonical’s factory.

Ubuntu 16.04.2 Point Release Features

Linux Kernel 4.8

Ubuntu 16.04.2 Linux Kernel 4.8

As expected, Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS packs the Linux kernel 4.8.0 ( read this article to know the 10 best features of Linux kernel 4.8) out of the box. We have already seen kernel 4.8 in the case of the non-LTS Ubuntu 16.10 Yakety Yak released in October last year.

A notable mention is the updated HWE kernel in the Ubuntu 16.04.2. On the desktop Ubuntu ISOs, the HWE kernel is enabled by default. However, in the case of Ubuntu Server, the General Availability kernel will be the default with an option to choose HWE in the installer bootloader.

Other than this, there isn’t much to tell about the features of Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS, as it borrows most of them from Ubuntu 16.04 and Ubuntu 16.04.1 point release. Changes and fixes have been made to the Unity desktop, nautilus, X-org, etc. along with fixes related to the installation media and update manager, ubuntu-release-notifier, etc.

Ubuntu 16.04.2 ISOs have been released in the following flavors:

Ubuntu 16.04.2 Desktop

  • Kubuntu 16.04.2 LTS
  • Xubuntu 16.04.2 LTS
  • Ubuntu GNOME 16.04.2 LTS
  • Lubuntu 16.04.2 LTS
  • Ubuntu Kylin 16.04.2 LTS
  • Mythbuntu 16.04.2 LTS
  • Ubuntu MATE 16.04.2 LTS
  • Ubuntu Studio 16.04.2 LTS

Download Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS ISOs

If you’re already running an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS release, you can head towards the Update Manager where the second point release update would be waiting for you.

If you want to download fresh Ubuntu 16.04.2 ISO files, they are available for on the Ubuntu servers.

Check out the release notes page to get the ISO download links for different official Ubuntu flavors.

If you have something to add, drop your thoughts and feedback.

Also Read: Latest Linux Distribution Releases (The Always Up-to-date List)

linux-course-bundle-banner-1

Baton Rouge just got its first Bitcoin ATM – Baton Rouge Business …

Baton Rouge’s first ATM for Bitcoin brings a tangible interchange for users of the decentralized, digital currency. But it remains unclear how much of a market exists for Bitcoin in the Baton Rouge area.

Earlier this month, Will Haynie, a New Orleans day trader who operates Bitcoin ATMs with his brother, installed a Genesis Coin ATM machine at American Market, a grocery store at 5251 Nicholson Dr.

Haynie has other such machines in New Orleans and has plans for one more in either Shreveport or Baton Rouge in the near future. The machines allow for a one-directional transaction, where users can purchase Bitcoin for cash but not receive cash for their Bitcoin.

Quantifying the Bitcoin market locally is challenging. Haynie says his ATMs have had solid traffic so far, but declined to provide specific numbers. The currency is geared toward younger people, Haynie says, noting the ATM is near the LSU campus. Hayne collects an 8% fee on transactions.

Users don’t need ATM machines to buy Bitcoin. They can already purchase the currency by getting an online account on a large exchange, but Haynie says the ATMs streamline the process. Users must set up a digital wallet and go through either an SMS verification or have their driver’s license scanned, depending on the size of the transaction. Then, users insert cash and get Bitcoin.

“It’s internet cash,” Hayne says. “Anything you can pay for online, you can pay for with Bitcoin … a lot of big companies are accepting it.”

Currently, one Bitcoin is worth around $1,065, and users can buy a fraction of a single Bitcoin. The digital currency has no authority and is not run by any bank. Bitcoin has gained worldwide exposure over the last several years, and several Baton Rouge companies have since announced they would begin accepting the currency.

Bryan Jeansonne, a local real estate lawyer, announced in early 2014 he would begin accepting the currency, and a handful of other businesses followed suit. The Republican Party of Louisiana even began accepting Bitcoin donations.

Jeansonne says he had hoped to attract people from other countries where currencies can be unstable, and the low fees made the currency appealing.
“We do still accept it,” he says. “But no one has ever used it.”

Grant Bourque, a local software engineer, first got Bitcoin several years ago, and is now involved with a Facebook page for local Bitcoin users. He says the technology behind the currency drew him to Bitcoin. Though he mostly saves his Bitcoins, he uses some to buy things like presents, ebooks, games, shirts and the like. A few years ago, Bourque went to a Bitcoin conference and paid for his tickets with the currency.

“I appreciate the creativity that went into creating a global digital cash system that no single entity controls,” Bourque says in an email. “I think it is a cheaper and more secure way to send money to anyone over the internet.”

—Sam Karlin

Make yourself heard: INTA extends deadline for new gTLD cost impact survey

Jack Ellis

The original deadline for INTA’s survey on the impact of new gTLDs on brand owners has been extended, with INTA corporate members now having until Friday February 28 to submit their responses. The study is designed to provide empirical data on the real-world cost of the new gTLD programme on trademark protection and policing activities.

The impact study was launched last month with the intention of gathering insight from the trademark-owning community on the effects of the new gTLD rollout, which began in late 2013. ICANN had invited INTA to provide this feedback as part of its commitment to regularly review the impact of new gTLDs in terms of competition, consumer protection, security and IP rights. According to INTA, ICANN specifically wants to assess “the cost and effort required to protect and police trademarks,” adding: “To date no empirical data has been developed on the costs that brand owners have had to incur.”

This led to the launch of the cost impact study. In a recent interview with World Trademark Review (available in full as a podcast), Joseph Ferretti, 2017 INTA president, expanded: “The budget aspect is important to understand because something has to be sacrificed – budgets haven’t increased to accommodate the expansion in domain names, that’s for sure… [To date] There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence of the impact but not firm evidence that we can point to. That is why INTA is initiating the impact study – because we really want a data driven approach. So we are asking our members to give us information on the actual cost of the new gTLD programme, so we can talk about the issue with much more specificity.”

To ensure the confidentiality of responses, the survey is being carried out by a third-party service provider (Nielsen). Neither INTA nor ICANN will have access to individual responses; instead, Nielsen will collate the findings into a report at the end of the process.

Many trademark-owning INTA members will have already received email invitations to participate in the survey; for those of you that haven’t, you can contact research@hpolsurveys.com, which will send you an individualised link in order to complete it. INTA provides the following guidance on the survey process:

While completing the survey will only require approximately 30 minutes, the survey will require some preparatory work on the part of the corporate members with regard to the costs of trademark enforcement relative to domain registrations. Survey respondents will be provided with a worksheet to assist them with this process. Information to be collected in preparation for responding to the survey includes:

  • Number of domains registered under the ‘legacy’ (ie, ‘.com’, ‘.net’, etc) and ‘new’ (ie, ‘.bank’, ‘.sucks’, etc) gTLDs in the past 24 months;
  • Reasoning behind registering such domains and possible alternatives;
  • Number of trademark claims notices received and estimated cost associated with these claims notices (both in-house and outside counsel);
  • Estimated cost spent on general internet monitoring of trademarks to identify potentially abusive or infringing domain names;
  • Estimated cost spent on any of the following: cease and desist letters; UDRP proceedings; civil actions after adverse UDRP rulings; URS proceedings; ACPA lawsuits; and other trademark lawsuits resulting from a new gTLD;
  • Estimated cost spent on pursuing action against registrars and registries; and
  • Company policy with regards to premium pricing for domain names.

With the dearth of information on the cost of new gTLD mitigation, the study’s findings will be keenly anticipated. World Trademark Review’s most recent annual benchmarking survey, conducted during the first half of 2016, found that brand owners were on the whole relatively sanguine with regards to the programme. A clear majority (60.5%) of respondents reported no significant changes to their online enforcement strategies over the preceding 12 months; while domain name infringement slipped down on their list of priorities as compared to previous years, with combatting online sales of counterfeits now top of their internet-related enforcement agenda. This may be because strategies had already been adjusted to fit the reality of the new gTLD environment (the survey asking respondents to consider only the previous 12 months). It will be interesting, though, to see how the results of INTA’s impact survey tally with these findings.

What is important is that the study is as representative of the reality as possible, and that requires trademark counsel to engage with the research. Those wishing to do so now have less than two weeks to participate. 

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budgie-remix 16.04.2 Comes Equipped with the HWE Kernel from Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS

The great folks from the Ubuntu Budgie (formerly budgie-remix) GNU/Linux distribution had the pleasure of announcing the general availability of budgie-remix 16.04.2.

What’s budgie-remix 16.04.2, you may wonder? Well, as Ubuntu Budgie did not yet have a stable release, and because many people are still using the distro on their PCs with its previous name (budgie-remix), the developers updated it to be based on the recently released Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system.

Being based on Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS, which inherits the newer Linux 4.8 kernel and an updated graphics stack based on Mesa 12.0 3D Graphics Library from Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak), budgie-remix 16.04.2 comes equipped with its HWE kernel and graphics stack, as well as the latest Budgie 10.2.9 desktop environment.

“This release builds on the shoulders of the fabulous Ubuntu 16.04.2. budgie-remix 16.04.2 comes equipped with the HWE Kernel and X Graphics,” reads the announcement. “Budgie-desktop is the very latest v10.2.9 series and of course, much of the packages have been refreshed.”

Appindicators now enabled by default

Another novelty introduced in the budgie-remix 16.04.2 release is the enablement by default of Appindicators, which enables various indicators supported by Ubuntu Linux to be displayed in the system tray area of the Budgie desktop. Newcomers to this OS will also find the latest budgie-welcome app to help them get started faster.

Apart from numerous updated packages and all the latest security patches imported from the Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS (Xenial Xerus) repositories, budgie-remix 16.04.2 includes a tool that lets users choose their favorite web browser, if they are supported by Ubuntu, of course.

budgie-remix 16.04.2 is available for download right now on our website and it comes with Live ISO images for both 64- and 32-bit PCs. As expected, if you’re using budgie-remix 16.04.1 or 16.04, there’s no need to download these ISOs. All you have to do to keep your installations up to date is make sure all the released updates are installed.

If you’re using budgie-remix 16.04 or 16.04.1 and, for some reason, you don’t want to use the newer kernel from the Linux 4.8 series, you can keep the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel, which Canonical will support until 2021 with security patches and other updates.

Sustainable Development Through Bitcoin

A. Hannan Ismail is senior adviser for south-south and triangular cooperation at the United Nations. He has spent 25 years in government relations and public policy advisory, corporate strategy, and project management. Further, he has expertise in the field of microfinance.

In this opinion piece, Ismail looks at how bitcoin could drive the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which are aimed to improve the prospects of everyone on the planet. 

“Never let a good crisis go to waste,” said one Winston Churchill.

To set things straight from the beginning, I don’t have a bust of the former British Prime Minister in my office. For one thing, he was rather off on his views of Mahatma Gandhi, the most influential British subject of the 20th Century.

The reason that this remark endures is obvious. We as a global community find ourselves in an accelerating centrifuge of crises that are economic, political and ultimately moral all at once.

The way out can seem to be more elusive at each turn. “Stop the world: I want to get off” isn’t an option yet, although Elon Musk is working on that one.

Disruptions abound. Disruption of the ecosystem, disruption of the political order, disruption of institutions and disruption of societies. (There are many ways to skin this cat, including this one from McKinsey Global Institute.)

These disruptions have created another crisis of a fundamental and corrosive kind: the loss of trust.

Why put faith in political classes who are raised, schooled and nakedly represent vested interests engaged in ‘socially useless’ activity?

Why be surprised when public institutions that are mandated to protect and promote human rights go on to intrude into personal privacy and lawful behaviour?

Why trust large private businesses, that cultivate prospects through sophisticated psychographic and behavioral marketing, in order to sell goods and services that poison you and your children?

We stare at a world at war where the theatre of conflict isn’t just far away Abyssinia or Czechoslovakia or Manchuria or Spain. Or Iraq or Syria.

Today the theatre of war is everywhere.

Refugees might justifiably argue that “we are here because you were there,” but it’s become even more invidious than this.

The theatre is you and me, and it is being fought on an increasingly intimate terrain.

If you’re reading this on your personal device, the war is happening in the palm of your hand through the likely encroachment of your privacy. Right now.

Trust in peril

It isn’t easy for good people to turn their back on struggling or compromised institutions, or to be wary of something as close to us as our personal device.

We grow up with them as part of our lives. We invest in them with the expectation that they will invest in us, or deliver benefits to us. They are part of who we are.

At least this is the working assumption in relatively developed societies. The story has been rather different in the majority of the world where countries and communities struggle daily to hold things together.

For the governments and peoples living in least-development countries, landlocked least-developed countries, and small-island developing states, crisis was the new normal decades ago.

Now spare a thought for women, men and children in territories wracked by conflict, with no government or business sector or rule of law.

Institutional crisis in specific jurisdictions has become a crisis of institutions everywhere.

Trust, a commodity that requires careful handling, is in peril. And it is not surprising that this prompts over-reaction towards extremes.

For some, public institutions are to blame, therefore we need to turn our back on them and go full-libertarian.

To others, private interests can be just as malevolent, or incompetent, or both, therefore we need the state to restore order.

We can have sympathy for both outlooks, but the solutions arising from each side can descend quickly into dogma. Neither help.

What we need is a negotiated middle ground that makes sense for present and future generations. This middle ground belongs to a shared agenda powered by innovation.

The power of innovation

Two developments since the 2007–2008 economic crisis can, in my view, help and help enormously.

They both have some things in common: they both emerged from a hot mess and they are both still in their infancy.

At first glance, they both seem implausible. They both face a challenge to pass the giggle test in an age where fear, uncertainty and doubt prevail.

They also share qualities that are altogether more positive. They promise a better world. They are the products of long experience and ingenuity. They are both brilliant in their design.

Chronologically, the first was bitcoin, which emerged in 2009.

The second is the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Here are the goals in brief:

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-Being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals

Is there a single one of these 17 goals, or any of their 169 targets, where bitcoin cannot improve prospects? The answer may not be immediately obvious.

I expect that entrepreneurs, researchers, policy makers and institutions will be asking and acting on this question over the coming years.

The space ripe for investment.

Interdependent world

The origins of bitcoin lie in code and cryptography. In its early adoption, it has attracted the attention of bona fide entrepreneurs operating in a gray regulatory area prone to over-reaction, plus speculators and criminals.

In the space of eight years, bitcoin (and its underlying protocol) has grown to the extent that central banks around the world and large financial institutions have begun to take serious notice.

This is good. Still, while its ecosystem is growing, many of its use cases are still hypothetical or untested, and some advocates are prone to wishful thinking. A few betray a whiff of technological fundamentalism.

Meanwhile, the Sustainable Development Goals arose in 2015 after sustained political debate and empirical evidence on what has and has not worked to improve the lot of people and planet.

Their number and complexity is an admission that the world we live in is interdependent. Long-term fixes in one location can have positive effects elsewhere.

For those skeptical of the ability of public and private institutions to come together to agree on an agenda this bold, the Sustainable Development Goals are a major source of inspiration and hope.

They enjoy traction in an otherwise distracted world.

Bringing bitcoin and the Sustainable Development Goals together will take an act of loving midwifery. It will require patience, cultivation and evidence.

On this, we have precedence.

It took more than 20 years for the development and environment communities to come together and agree on terms of engagement. Why so long?

There are many reasons, of course. Development as a profession privileges planners and economists who occasionally stumble into history, sociology and anthropology to understand lived realities. Environmental proponents tend to be natural scientists and activists.

These represent different, sometimes parallel cultures. It can take mega-trends or external shocks to force convergence. In the meantime, conservatism holds sway. Received wisdom, self-interest and a lack of lateral awareness dictate priorities and behaviour.

It can be a bemusing spectacle and we must expect more of the same.

Any effort to bring bitcoin into the Sustainable Development Goals will require an appreciation of how to achieve successful convergence between communities of interest. It will take communication, experimentation and demonstration of value.

Risky bet

Bitcoin is beginning to hint at intrinsic value, to the extent that its protocol has the potential to deliver material value to state, society, economy and individual.

Some argue that the ‘S-curve of technology adoption’, characterized by fractals repeating, exponentially increasing Gartner Hype Cycles, might in time force convergence. Perhaps.

At the same time, we should not underestimate the political economy of technology adoption.

It does not yet have the social capital that say, gold, enjoys. Its extrinsic value is still moot. This makes it vulnerable and a risky bet.

For now, it isn’t so much the old imperialist Churchill from whom we can draw inspiration. Instead, it’s the wily Gandhi and his vision of the autonomous human being, free from encumbrance and able to pursue life to its full potential.

Born in the wake of crisis, the Sustainable Development Goals shape that course, and I believe bitcoin can drive it.

This article was previously published on the author’s Medium blog, and has been republished here with permission. Minor edits have been made.

Planet earth image via Shutterstock

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, CoinDesk.

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